Book Review for Oliver and Jumpy

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This is a wonderful series of short stories with full colorful and detailed illustrations. The main character is Oliver, an animated child cat; he is the sole narrator of his stories. The first story is about Bearly a bear who accidentally fell into a tree hole and finally was saved by a snake. The second story is about Stripy the tiger mom who lost her baby learned to take care of three piglets. The third one is about Jumpy and Joey, a mother Kangaroo and her son, their adventure magic journey with Oliver. The stories are cute and the adventures are full of fun and imagination. The illustrations are colorful and full of details, truly bringing the story to life. Highly recommend, and I’ll definitely grab other books in the series.

Also, The ebook currently is on sale. The free download will be available for another few days. Afterwards it will revert to paid. Click Here to download.

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About the Author:
Werner Stejskal, Born in Vienna, Austria, Werner is now living in the paradise of Perth, Australia with his wife, two married children and three grandchildren. He worked many years in the printing industry and later for the United Nations in Vienna. His wife had been a pen-friend, whom Werner visited in Hong Kong and finally got married to. After an eventful life, now retired, he began to write children’s stories, had them illustrated through Odesk, narrated them himself for YouTube and finally published the ebooks on most platforms. Werner’s dream is to see “Oliver and Jumpy” animated as a TV series.

There are lots of fairy tales and bedtime stories around and many of them quite violent. This made Werner decide to write something different. On a flight from Europe to Australia he watched the movie Magic on Belle Island with Morgan Freeman, where Freeman teaches a little girl to have imagination and write her first story. This inspired Werner as well and the first stories with his two characters Oliver, the elegant tomcat, and Jumpy, his kangaroo lady friend, made their appearance. Some very capable illustrators have helped to create this picture book series.

Author Peter Frederick sums it all up!

Here are books created by Werner Stejskal, an author who has a wonderful sense of adaptability into the world of a child. Movements, sentiments, expressions and ideas are being visualised, that enthral and win over the little reader. Plus, his terminology is perfectly matched to the mood of each self-contained story. The author also displays amazing sensitivity and is able to transport even adults back into long-past childhood. All good virtues are being emphasized, like friendship, loyalty, determination and civility, giving the fascinated reader the right signals for spiritual development. The main characters, Oliver and Jumpy, are the masters of a variety of situations that draw the reader into the stories. But one of the main reasons for the success of these children’s books is the artwork! The graphics, outstandingly created by the artist, have their hues and shapes completely adapted to the respective situation and so contribute to the emotional absorption of each picture. Text and message. sombre feelings and cheery situations are being created and masterly entertain the little readers. One can only recommend this series of children’s books to all adults who wish to keep their little ones occupied in a positive, entertaining and learning environment!

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BLU DOG Home Alone

Super excited to announce that our new book BLU DOG Home Alone was released today on Amazon! Teamed up with Todd Grey, we had so much fun making this book possible.  Interactive children’s activity section inside and a free coloring book included. Click here to purchase the book on Amazon.

You have often heard the age old question; if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? BUT have you ever thought about this one; if a dog is home alone and no one is around to watch him, does he have more fun than we think?” Christopher Anderson is your typical kindergartener whose imagination runs wild when asking himself that very same question. Young children and parents alike will truly enjoy reading this book and discovering what Christopher thinks his beloved dog Blu is actually doing while he is attending school. The Blu Dog Book series aims to encourage your child to develop and expand their imaginations in both a unique and fun way. At the end of the story, we offer an interactive section which allows parents to help their children express themselves in their own words and illustrations, just like Christopher Anderson.

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Book Review | The Apple Pie That Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson

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A very delightful and sweet story. The Apple pie – a sweet treat that father prepares for his daughter, tells us the sweetest love in this big world. Thompson tells the story in a cumulative form, and the fascinating part is that the cumulative form goes backwards yet Bean’s illustrations go forward in time visually. The text begins with the apples (“These are the apples, juicy and red, that went in the pie, warm and sweet, that Papa baked”) and then moves on to the tree that grew the fruit, its roots, the rain, the clouds, the sky, the sun, and finally the world (“blooming with life”).  You see Papa picking apples, baking the pie, and coming with his daughter for a picnic under that very apple tree.

Bean’s fine folk-style illustrations were drawn in black, brown yellow and a bit red, the simple palette wonderfully complement this emotional tale. Colors help set the mood of each spread, and the scribbly style lends the illustrations a slightly retro feel. In the ending while the text goes far and far to encompass the whole world, the illustrations focus down and down onto the apple pie shared by father and daughter in a homey setting, leading the story to its sweet conclusion. A delightful and engaging read, a charming and sweet story for little ones and parents.

Book Review | The Sound of Colors by Jimmy Liao- A Journey of Imagination

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“Color of Sounds” tells a story of a blind young girl who ventures on a subway trip using her imagination to take herself and readers on a journey.  “I have a journey to go on. There are some thing I need to find.” (from the book) It starts out slowly. She wonders the places the trains might take her and the passengers. She exits the stations where the field full of the golden leaves; She flies with clouds in different shapes and colors; She follows a line of elephants upstairs and downstairs; She is lonely on those dark nights or rainy days; She sits in a library with orange sunset glowing through the window; She lies on the back of a whale and listens to the sound of breeze; At last she returns home to find the light she’s looking for, “in my heart”. The final image is of the girl entering a home that has vibrant stained glass walls of enormous colors, images, and comforts.

The story is not only about a blind girl’s experience or imagination, it’s more of a metaphor of adult life. The light glowing in heart is what makes life bright. To keep a good spirit and always think positively. There is no “wrong train” since whichever train could bring us to a new place, there is no “wrong stop” since whichever place could make us comfort. To take trains to myriad stops metaphorizes the decisions and options in real life, we could get anxieted and stressed of unknown steps next, or become fearful of not achieving what we are looking for initially. But we do have other options, to keep eyes and heart open for our surroundings, we could still enjoy the whole journey, and even find something more meaning and enjoyable during this process.

While the book labels as children’s book, it may be read at many levels, and actually I feel adults can understand deeper. The watercolor style and the details of every single page simultaneously present many emotions and moods, such as fear, comfort, solitude, hope, wonder. The heroine is independent and strong, her journey highlights the light glowing in heart and ignites thought of possibility and transcendance when facing difficulties and changes.

A New Book

Here’s a sneak peek at what I am currently working on.  A new book!

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It’s another book from “Redy and Bluey” series, and it’s a wordless picture book!

I’m a big fan of wordless picture books, to name several of my favorites, Journey by Aaron Becker , Tuesday by David Wiesner,  The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyRainstorm by Barbara Lehman Though these wordless picture books tell different stories, they share one thing in common – full of imagination! The illustrations themselves lead readers through and open people’s mind. Sometimes I even feel they are more suitable for adults – kids might find fun and enjoyable to flip through those beautiful pages, but adults can really admire the phrase and the imaginary world built up by only illustrations.

Feel free to share with me your favorites wordless picture books!

Book Review | Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac by Ed Young – An Interesting Entertaining Story

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This beautifully illustrated children’s book introduces us the interesting entertaining story behind Chinese zodiac. In old times, cat and rat are great friends. One day the Emperor announces a contest, a race for all the animals. The first 12 winners cross the finish line will have a year named in their honor. The contest is through mountains and fields, forest and rivers. Rat and Cat, the best of friends, ask the water buffalo to carry them across the river. However, when it’s about to reach the finish line, rather than holding together tightly, Rat pushes Cat into the water and jumps off the buffalo’s back, coming in first. This marvelous tale reveals why, to this very day, Cat and Rat are enemies and why Cat is not one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Following the story, Ed Young offers “Cultural Notes” and a chart of signs that help the reader understand the characteristics of the 12 animals described in the book. It is a cultural educational book especially for those who enjoys myths from around the world. It is very well presented by a soft gentle abstract look, Young’s charcoal and pastel drawings are dramatic and striking. The darkness of color and the depth of texture conveys a unique look in children’s literature.

Book Review | Yoon and the Jade Bracelet – A Story With Class Guidance Lesson

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The story and illustrations show the readers the Korean culture, “My name is Yoon. I came here from Korea, a country far away.” It’s also about how a Korean-American girl reconciles her two worlds. More than that, the story comes up questions for every kid to face in everyday life: what is true and valuable friendship? How to be accepted by others while staying true ourselves? Is it worth to sacrifice one thing to get another thing? How to speak up for ourselves? The culture angle makes the story more charming and provoking, it’s often frustrating for kids to fit into a new environment and being afraid of rejection.

The story starts from Yoon’s coming birthday. All she wants for a birthday gift from her mom is a jump rope – jump rope is a popular game in school so she can play with the other girls. Instead, Yoon’s mother gives her a Korean storybook and a jade bracelet with “Shining Wisdom” engraved in Korean, that once belonged to her grandmother. The next day at school, an older girl invites Yoon to teach her to play jump rope, but for exchange, she wants to wear the jade bracelet. Yoon reluctantly borrows her the bracelet. However, when Yoon tries to get her bracelet back, the girl claims it belongs to her and refuses to return the bracelet. Yoon uses the lessons learned in the folktale from the storybook and her “Shining Wisdom” helps figure out a way to retrieve the precious jade bracelet.

This book is an emotional, colorful, vibrant experience. Swiatkowska’s illustrations are full of thickly applied large textured strokes, with backgrounds of single colors – bold reds, muted olives, aero blues, and cadet grays, together giving the story a retro edge.